One speculation is dead then: Amber Rudd is not standing for the Conservative leadership. Neither at the moment is she supporting any particular candidate.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Rudd ruled herself out. The headline suggested support for Boris Johnson’s bid, but it is hard to read that in her guarded, reconciliatory tones.
Rudd is a serious player in that she has held a number of Cabinet position, not always successfully, and is currently the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, albeit as a demotion from the office of Home Secretary: however her known pro-EU sympathies and the support she recently expressed for a try-again-and-answer-nicely-this-time referendum has put her amongst the company of the damned as far as Brexiteers are concerned. Her performance too at the Home Office stands against her, so it is a sensible move not to be seen eyeing the top job.
As to Boris, we asked yesterday ‘Is Boris Good Enough‘ and had to conclude that judgments based on personality can miss the point entirely. Here then Amber Rudd sounds cautious: it may be that in a few weeks’ time she will be begging him to keep her in her job, as others bay for her blood and his supporters look for ministerial positions as their rewards. It is a smart move therefore. It is not in any way though a complete, personal endorsement of Boris nor a strike against other candidates.
We can expect a series of similar interviews from ministers and others as they watch the landscape of patronage changing around them.